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The Latest Happenings With Feral's GameMode For Optimized Linux Gaming

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  • The Latest Happenings With Feral's GameMode For Optimized Linux Gaming

    Phoronix: The Latest Happenings With Feral's GameMode For Optimized Linux Gaming

    It's been nearly one year since Feral Interactive introduced GameMode for optimizing the Linux gaming experience/performance. With not hearing anything out of the project in a while, I decided to poke around its development code this weekend...

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...ode-Start-2019

  • #2
    The whole approach is bad. You don't reconfigure stuff for the sake of 1 program running. There are always 1000 other programs running too, which may suffer.

    They should contribute to the CPU governor code and submit improvements. Windows and Mac don't need power adjustments to run 1 game. Also by just plain logic, if "on demand" fails to meed that demand, it's certainly a bug or design flaw.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by eydee View Post
      The whole approach is bad. You don't reconfigure stuff for the sake of 1 program running. There are always 1000 other programs running too, which may suffer.

      They should contribute to the CPU governor code and submit improvements. Windows and Mac don't need power adjustments to run 1 game. Also by just plain logic, if "on demand" fails to meed that demand, it's certainly a bug or design flaw.
      If I'm currently playing a game, chances are I don't care a whole lot what those other programs are doing.

      Also, I don't know about macs, but Windows does have Game Mode:
      Currently, on the Windows OS level, a game is just another process among many running simultaneously. With Game Mode, though, Windows will isolate CPU resources to be devoted exclusively to that game process and optimize the GPU to give the game as much attention as possible as well.

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      • #4
        While I also think it's true that "on demand" should cover this "demand". I don't think we have a cathegorised logic behind that. What I mean is that games are not simply other processes, but kind of special apps, where you don't want you CPU to change in a Powersave mode when possible.

        Also a game mode should not be CPU only, but should improve also GPU, swap, cgroups and much more stuff, so that the computers priority in general will be the game.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by eydee View Post
          They should contribute to the CPU governor code and submit improvements. Windows and Mac don't need power adjustments to run 1 game. Also by just plain logic, if "on demand" fails to meed that demand, it's certainly a bug or design flaw.
          I'm fairly sure you can switch from "Balanced" to "Performance" mode on Windows. Not sure how macOS manages it.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Pentarctagon View Post
            If I'm currently playing a game, chances are I don't care a whole lot what those other programs are doing.
            Yep, but the kernel should be smart enough to handle that without the need for 3rd party intervention.

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            • #7
              Just a small note which I don't think many picked up on, mdiluz who used to work for Feral (now Unity) has his own fork of it to work on more features. Something I noted in my year in review post on GOL at the end of 2018

              He actually has a contract with Valve to work on Linux tooling as a side-gig.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by msotirov View Post
                I'm fairly sure you can switch from "Balanced" to "Performance" mode on Windows. Not sure how macOS manages it.
                I don't think, there is any user facing way to influence the performance governor or similar mechanisms. Traditionally, macOS is very energy aware. My MBP has a lot more battery life under macOS than under Windows. You can guess what the governor does by looking at various workloads. If I recall correctly, workloads that load the entire CPU at full power are very similar in performance to other OSs while intermittent workloads tend to be a bit slower, since the OS doesn't ramp up frequencies as quickly. The upside is that multitasking feels more fluent while an individual app might be a few percent slower.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by eydee View Post
                  The whole approach is bad. You don't reconfigure stuff for the sake of 1 program running. There are always 1000 other programs running too, which may suffer.
                  That's the point. They *should* suffer, because if people are playing a game, they don't want to have it suffering because 1000 processes are running in the background. Apart from that, there are other things, e.g. one might have a high priority on a v-synced desktop but it just disturbs the gaming experience. GameMode could dynamically turn TearFree or a compositor on/off in that case.
                  Of course, in a perfect world, that wouldn't be required. But that's not what we have.

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                  • #10
                    The latest GameMode code can be tested via GitHub.
                    Debian has it in testing and unstable repos, so for those on Debian Buster or Sid, a simple 'sudo apt install gamemode' will suffice.

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